Incentives, utility rates boost Trinidad's standing as BPO hub
Momentum is building in Trinidad and Tobago's efforts to attract more financial business process outsourcing (BPO) operations to the country. Two BPO providers, Quatrro Global Services and Caribbean Electronic Payment Systems, will launch a pilot project for a card processing operation.
Altogether, nine potential foreign investors, including BPO firms, have recently visited the country to learn more about opportunities, incentives and other supports, and to hear from existing BPO operators about their experience doing business in Trinidad.
The financial services sector is second only to the petroleum sector in its contribution to the country's GDP. Trinidad’s highly focused effort in recent years to diversify its financial services sector has generated the increased activity.
The Trinidad and Tobago International Finance Center (TTIFC) is providing assistance for potential BPO investors. TTIFC was opened specifically to promote T&T as a destination for middle and back-office operations for financial institutions and third-party BPO providers.
One TTIFC initiative, the FINeSS programme (Financial Institution Support Services), helps implement special incentives for these groups.
TTIFC head Varun Maharaj spoke about his vision to create thousands of service-sector jobs and add $1.2 billion to Trinidad's economy within five years.
The country’s young BPO sector is getting strong support from the private sector in helping to catalyse its growth. This help for potential investors was noted last year by Tholons, an advisory company for global outsourcing. The report rated T&T as “very good” for its Stakeholder Support component. More details about Trinidad’s future in BPO can be found in the report.
Scotiabank and Pan American Life Insurance Group (PALIG), both sizable organisations, were early multinational BPO investors in Trinidad and Tobago. Each cited its position as a gateway to the Caribbean, Latin America and North America, well-educated and qualified labour force, mature IT infrastructure and excellent tax incentives as key to their decision to locate BPO services in the country.
Both also mentioned the comparatively lower cost of doing business in Trinidad compared to other potential Latin American or Caribbean locations.
Trinidad and Tobago's very competitive utility rates, excellent tax incentives, consistent and predictable regulatory processes and economic stability were other factors in their decisions.